Whether your ‘wine cellar’ is a wine rack in an under-the-stairs cupboard or a full-blown underground labyrinth of wine storage, it is important to keep your collection organised. While the way you order your collection is a personal thing and should suit your preferences, there are a number of ways that many wine lovers choose to organise their bottles that you may wish to consider when considering wine storage solutions.

Ways to Organise Your Wine Cellar

By Colour

For many, when asked what type of wine they best enjoy, a colour will be given as an answer as opposed to a style or region of wine. As such, organising your wine collection by colour can be an easy, yet effective, way of storing your bottles. If asked for a glass of red by a guest, then you’ll immediately know exactly where to look rather than having to search through your whole collection. Dedicate space on your wine racks for sections of red, white, rosé and bubbly wine. This can then be further organised by ordering the bottles from lighter-bodied to fuller-bodied wines, making it very simple to find the ideal bottle of wine for pairing with dinner! While organising by colour may seem a little simplistic to more advanced collectors, colour can be a great sub-category for organisation. For example, if you have dedicated a wine rack to each different country of wine you own, then you can further organise this selection by colour, making it even easier to locate the bottle you are looking for! 


By Age

If you are a wine collector then it is more than likely that you own wines that are ready to drink, everyday wines as well as ones that require ageing. Therefore, it can be great to organise your cellar based on age, leaving wines that are ready to be sipped with dinner in easy to grab spaces and those that need to be left tucked into the depths of your cellar to avoid uncorking them early by accident! Keep bottles that are ready to drink closer to eye level, and bottles that you are looking to age for a while at a higher or lower level where they are less noticed and more out of reach. Alternatively, you could store wines of the same vintage together.

By Varietal

For larger wine collections, organising by varietal is a good way to go. Before you can do this, you will need to sort your wine collection by colour and then group your bottles based on their varietal. For example, all bottles of Chardonnay will be kept on one rack or shelf, and all bottles of Pinot Grigio on another.

By Region

Another option for those with bigger collections, organising your wine by the country or region that it comes from is a fairly easy system. Organising your bottles in this manner will quickly reveal to you the countries or regions that you have the most wine from and those which you have little or no wine from. You can use this as a chance to explore more wine from the countries you haven’t gathered as many bottles from; plus, it gives you an excuse to further expand your collection!

By Producer

Are you a fan of a few specific winemakers? If your collection comprises of several bottles coming from particular vineyards or Chateaux, then this is another great way of categorising your collection. Keep bottles from the same producer together and you can further organise them by storing them in order of vintage. 

By Occasion

When we buy wine we will often already have plans in mind for that particular bottle. Some will be bottles ready to drink in the coming weeks or months, some may be saved for a fancy dinner party, while others may be gifted. Rarer or more unique bottles will be bought with the intention of opening on a special occasion, or perhaps to be aged in the cellar for many years to come instead! We can use these occasions as a way of organisation, placing bottles set to be drunk sooner as close as possible, with another section dedicated to bottles that are being kept a while. Bubbly or other ‘special occasion’ drinks can be kept on a separate shelf or wine rack for things like birthdays, anniversaries or family parties. This organisational system allows you to organise your wine based on your feelings, as opposed to the particular characteristics of the wine, adding a personal touch to your collection!


Things to Consider When Organising Your Wine Cellar

While deciding where to put each bottle is a big part of wine cellar organisation, there are a few more points to consider when getting organised.

Keep Note of Your Collection

If you have a bigger collection of wine, then it is unlikely that you will remember every single bottle that you have or where it is stored. Keep inventory of your collection by noting down a list of every bottle, and where it is located in your cellar.

Long-term Cellaring Organisation

With wine bottles needing around 70% humidity when kept in ideal conditions, the labels on bottles that are being cellared long-term may start to become unreadable over time if they become damp and lose details. Therefore, it can be a good idea to label the bottles in other ways when you begin to organise them. For one, you can get plastic labels that hang from the necks of each bottle, keeping them easily identifiable. Alternatively, you could add plastic-covered labels to the shelf underneath each bottle to keep track of which bottle is which!


To find out more about how wine should be stored check out our guides to:

  • Temperature
  • Humidity
  • Light


If you are interested in organising your wine collection and would like to start storing your bottles in the ideal conditions for ageing wine, then Tanglewood Wine offers custom wine cellar design to create the perfect wine storage for your space! 

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